Antigua – open for business

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Alex Debrito, chairman of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association, is advising the international tourism market that Antigua is “open for business.”
Debrito, in an interview with OBSERVER media, yesterday confirmed that many travellers are of the notion that both Antigua and Barbuda were destroyed by Hurricane Irma.
“Antigua was blessed and was not affected severely from Irma. I think so far that only two properties were affected but we are working hard to bring back normalcy to those properties,” he said.
To mitigate against the effect of the misconception of Antigua’s tourism product, he said measures are being taken to re-establish confidence between suppliers and the tourist destination in order to attract as many visitors as possible.
“A lot of hotels are already offering some discounts, and that’s a discussion we also had with the tourism authority, and most of the hotels have been reasonable in trying to help,” he said.
“The more [tourists] we can get here and the more go back and say we went to Antigua and it was wonderful, we had good weather, the beach was clean …that is what we need now. Also, when they go back to write on social media and trip advisors.” 
Debrito also said that the effect of Irma on places such as Florida and Texas have increased the need to give serious consideration to promoting Antigua to other U.S. states as well as other countries around the world.
In the meantime, he is recommending that tourism stakeholders close in on the gap created by Irma in competing Caribbean destinations. 
 “In a positive way. Unfortunately, the storm did a lot of damage in the Caribbean. We have a lot of islands which were completely devastated, and all the infrastructure, hospitals and airports will take some time to recover. I think we have an opportunity to plan accordingly to let the world know we [Antigua] are open for business,” he said.

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